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‘Native’ language marker?

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
I get along well enough in Castilian Spanish, I can function in french but I’m a native English speaker.

This forum is almost entirely in English yet I’m constantly amazed at the fluency, grammar and vocabulary of many who post here for whom English is a second (or third, or more) language.

I have occasionally argued a counterpoint to another poster, only to find later that my interpretation of what they posted was not precisely what was intended and, through ignorance, I have not made any allowance for them only being 99% fluent in English.

How about a nationality or language marker among side a posters chosen name? It might promote better understanding.

Or is this a solution in search of a problem ...
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
...only to find later that my interpretation of what they posted was not precisely what was intended and, through ignorance, I have not made any allowance for them only being 99% fluent in English.
Perhaps you have identified the solution already.
To which, let me add that native speakers of English don't all speak the same language either. :)
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
I think a bit of understanding and patience would go a long way without the need for a marker, in a thread still running the OP's first language is not english and some posters took issue with spelling etc and some made jokes, this is not who we are.
 

CdnDreamer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (12, 15 & 18) San Salvador (18), Portuguese (19)
Maybe we all need to slow down and look a little deeper before replying to someone. We can check what country someone is from, but that doesn't tell us what their native language is. Once when I was concerned that someone was being rude I sent a private message to the person asking what they meant and we had a great discussion on translations and what they were trying to say. It was better to do it through a private conversation then derail the thread.
 

Michael; Camino-addicted

Take your time to enjoy a beautiful moment
Camino(s) past & future
A few Caminos
Next plan - Camino de Baztan
My own mother tongue is German and I am far from being able to describe my knowledge of the English language as good. But I´ve learned so much here in this forum ;)

It seems to me that it is not necessary to indicate the nationality or mother tongue in an extra field, because there are already possibilities to find out the origin of the members.

If you click on the bold written forum name of the member, an excerpt appears, in which with many members the origin appears. Of course you can't necessarily deduce the mother tongue from the origin (especially in the "classic immigration countries" like USA, Canada, Australia etc.), but I think that most of the inhabitants speak the official language of their current place of residence quite well.

In your own account, you obviously didn't enter anything in the field "location", so you are travelling "incognito" in some way.:eek:😜
 

Marc S.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Since 2012: CF, CdN, CP, Salvador, Aragones, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakobsweg NRW, Jakibspaad.
How about a nationality or language marker among side a posters chosen name? It might promote better understanding. Or is this a solution in search of a problem ...

I really appreciate your attentiveness by acknowledging that not all forum members have English as their native language, and I suppose this attentiveness is the solution (although I think we should not exaggerate the problem).

Maybe the issue is a bit broader, and it is worth acknowledging that not all people are equally comfortable in expressing their thoughts in writing (even in their native language).
 
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Theatregal

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
So far...
2012 ~ 2019
The camino is an international community. As a native English speaker I have always been very conscious of the privilege I have that English is the chosen language of this forum despite the fact that so many countries are represented here.

I’ve also learned through camino friends from all parts of this world, that just because their English is very good, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the meaning and intent of a conversation (especially an online conversation) is completely clear and understood. And as someone else has already pointed out, native English speakers don’t necessarily “speak” the same language either.

I think it's about treading softly - being patient and trying to be as clear and respectful as possible as we all communicate and follow the intent of this forum “Where past pilgrims share and future pilgrims learn”. Celebrate the fact that this is a place where all cultures and languages can meet.
 
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henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
My own mother tongue is German and I am far from being able to describe my knowledge of the English language as good. But I´ve learned so much here in this forum ;)

It seems to me that it is not necessary to indicate the nationality or mother tongue in an extra field, because there are already possibilities to find out the origin of the members.

If you click on the bold written forum name of the member, an excerpt appears, in which with many members the origin appears. Of course you can't necessarily deduce the mother tongue from the origin (especially in the "classic immigration countries" like USA, Canada, Australia etc.), but I think that most of the inhabitants speak the official language of their current place of residence quite well.

In your own account, you obviously didn't enter anything in the field "location", so you are travelling "incognito" in some way.:eek:😜

Every day is a school day! I have now entered my location.

There doesn’t appear to be a field for ‘species’! 🐶
 
I am English and live in Denmark. I work on a daily basis and on a personal level with about 10 different nationalities.

We all get on very well and all understand we have to make allowances with our language. We all get the gist of what we are saying to each other.

This is an international forum, not an English only forum. The fact that our foreign members make a very good attempt at writing English is a huge benefit and I for one, am grateful.

The site actually belongs to Iver Rekve. Its just as well Iver did not write it in his native tongue of Norwegian.

No we do not need flags or markers which depict our nationalities. It is an international site.
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
How about a nationality or language marker among side a posters chosen name? It might promote better understanding.
I share your interest in what is the native language of people on this forum - and, in fact, of anyone I meet and talk to. But, as suggested, perhaps the location field is enough.

I am intrigued by the language challenges of the forum - trying to figure people out, based on the few facts we know and the way they express themselves on different threads. There is quite an art to putting the intended meaning into a few words that will be understood widely. It is an equal challenge to figure out what the other person is trying to say - even when we share the language.

Since we are talking about language, I will share a podcast series that makes wonderful walking company: The Story of Human Language, an audio book by John McWhorter. I am generally not a big fan of audio books, but I am slowly being converted, especially for nonfiction.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Since we are talking about language, I will share a podcast series that makes wonderful walking company: The Story of Human Language, an audio book by John McWhorter. I am generally not a big fan of audio books, but I am slowly being converted, especially for nonfiction.
That sounds good. I enjoy John McWhorter's Lexicon Valley podcast.

 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
As a mono linguistic Aussie I do feel embarrassed when I meet Western Europeans who speak upwards of 4 languages. I have just been advised that I have been accepted as a volunteer in the Pilgrim office in October,. So it’s head down studying my Spanish, Castilian. Cheers
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
Thanks for your post. I think you foresaw the answer, you must be a seer... but anyway, it has led to some useful leads for reading, if I ever get through what I have piled up already. Mc Whorter is new, thank you to those above who referenced him. I watched a Ted talk last evening delivered by him, on txtng. Interesting approach. I am currently helping a man in his 50s who is learning to read. His 8 year old grandson helps him with his homework ! The man told me of a song he loves, so of course the next class was built around that. At home later, he asked the boy to sing the words, but the boy was reading it like a learner reader, staccato. So the man saw for himself the role music plays in language. He is not there yet, but piece by piece, the elements of reading are making sense to him.
i just corrected a typo. I could have left it. it reminded me of an article about how the brain compensates when presented with mixed up text. i will finish with an observation by a friend when she relaised that ‘collar and tie people’ did not know everything: a bank ckerk asked her how to spell her surname. Her assumption had been that educated people knew everything.
(Catch the deliberate typo?)
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Which one?😜;)🙃
(×2) 🙃
[Haha...If someone were to copyedit my posts, it'd look like that, too.]
If we nitpick about apostrophes and spelling regardless of the native language of the poster, there wouldn't be any space to get our messages across.

That said, it really bugs me when I see apparent sloppiness or ignorance of basic usage, like: its versus it's; there versus their versus they're.

That may be more about depending on autocorrect about spelling, more than about what language we speak.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
Which one?😜;)🙃

(×2) 🙃

[Haha...If someone were to copyedit my posts, it'd look like that, too.]
If we nitpick about apostrophes and spelling regardless of the native language of the poster, there wouldn't be any space to get our messages across.

That said, it really bugs me when I see apparent sloppiness or ignorance of basic usage, like: its versus it's; there versus their versus they're.

That may be more about depending on autocorrect about spelling, more than about what language we speak.
A colleague was so incensed by the lack of understanding as to when to use its and not it's she had paper slips printed off which she'd staple to the offending document - you might like a copy:

1582190186060.png

While a teacher friend says that children should never be taught about apostrophes at all - "Once they hear about them they scatter them around like confetti!"
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
Related question: would it make any sense to have a non-English sub-forum where people could write in other languages? Hard to moderate, but more inclusive.
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Related question: would it make any sense to have a non-English sub-forum where people could write in other languages? Hard to moderate, but more inclusive.
I think that most of the major languages have their own Camino forums anyway. Not convinced that such fragmentation here would be helpful. It might be more useful to help those who wish to use another language to find the right place.
 
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
I don't get it when people get worked up about mistakes like its/it's or there/their in online conversations where it is obvious that the writer is a non-native speaker of English or perhaps someone who made a careless mistake. This happened in a recent thread which, I guess, is the reason for this current thread and where it was quite obvious that the poster is not a native speaker of English, yet the post was easy to understand.

Although, I really did not understand the title at first but that was due to an unusual choice of mixing upper case and lower case and due to the fact that I call these things usually mobile phone, Handy, or GSM in the languages I use more or less daily. ☺
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
I don't get it when people get worked up about mistakes like its/it's or there/their in online conversations where it is obvious that the writer is a non-native speaker of English or perhaps someone who made a careless mistake.

I agree. The one thing that slightly annoys me is when I see the use of ‘text message pidgin’ like using ”u” for you, ”ur” for you are, ”b4” for before etc. – but that doesn’t happen very often.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
I agree. The one thing that slightly annoys me is when I see the use of ‘text message pidgin’ like using ”u” for you, ”ur” for you are, ”b4” for before etc. – but that doesn’t happen very often.
You could have a look at Mc Whorter, Ted talk on txtng. It may not be to your liking, but it has its merits. I resist it myself, except for tanx, but I see what he is saying.
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
I'm Dutch. So English isn't my native langwage.

I think it's very niece of the OP to take zis in too conzideration. And look at threats ritten bye people from ozer nationalities forgiffingly. And not be ovended to easilie.

Zank joe zo mutsch.
 
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
The one thing that slightly annoys me is when I see the use of ‘text message pidgin’ like using ”u” for you, ”ur” for you are, ”b4” for before etc. – but that doesn’t happen very often.
I actually know very little about reading, i.e. how we read. I think I read "visually", I see words and context and patterns, I don't have to "hear" them, if that explanation makes any sense. When the letters I see deviate too much from what I expect, like CEII or b4, or when there is a considerable amount of very sloppy spelling in a post, it slows me down in my reading and understanding of what is written and that is slightly annoying.

But if there is one thing that annoys me it is not the writing but the lack of reading: posters who can't be bothered to read what's already been written in the previous messages including the one just in front of their noses and who just react to the first post or just to the title of a thread. ☺
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
You could have a look at Mc Whorter, Ted talk on txtng. It may not be to your liking, but it has its merits. I resist it myself, except for tanx, but I see what he is saying.

Interesting! – but perhaps not surprising that languages are developing and changing especially in ‘sub-cultures’ and certain contexts. I’d still say that when communicating in writing on an international forum like this one, it is best to use the language variety which is likely to be unambiguously understood by the majority of the members, which, I assume, would not be the ‘text message pidgin’ variety.
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
I actually know very little about reading, i.e. how we read. I think I read "visually", I see words and context and patterns, I don't have to "hear" them, if that explanation makes any sense. When the letters I see deviate too much from what I expect, like CEII or b4, or when there is a considerable amount of very sloppy spelling in a post, it slows me down in my reading and understanding of what is written and that is slightly annoying.

There are some research that suggests that fast readers don’t actually read words but rather employ a variety of ‘decoding strategies’ based on pattern recognition. It is also suggested that the font in which something is written plays a crucial role in the effectiveness of the decoding process.

There is a lot of literature about this and it is very interesting – but perhaps I’m getting a little off topic here (so this post volunteers to be deleted :) )
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
It is also suggested that the font in which something is written plays a crucial role in the effectiveness of the decoding process.
Back in the early days of home PCs I once caused my multilingual English father-in-law a few minutes of puzzlement by sending him a letter written in English but printed using the Greek character set. Took him a while to work out why his Greek had suddenly failed him. :cool:
 
D

Deleted member 29041

Guest
This is a site created and maintained by a Norwegian living in Spain, frequented by people from all over the world - and now some native English-speaking people are "claiming" ownership? We even have a moderator suggesting that non-native English speakers go elsewhere .. er, that would strictly include US Americans, wouldn't it? :p

p.s. If you don't feel offended after reading this post, you have my deepest apology.
p.p.s. Do get a grip on reality, please.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Took him a while to work out why his Greek had suddenly failed him. :cool:
@Bradypus, you are baaad. 🙃
A delightful practical joke, but it only took him a few minutes to cotton on to your ruse? He was quick.

[Sorry, completely off topic, though I guess it's tangentially relevant. That is a foreign language spelling mistake, after all...or a series of them.]
u might like a copy:
1582190186060.png
A bow of thanks, from one grammar pedant to another. I love this!
I think it's very niece of the OP to take zis in too conzideration. And look at threats ritten bye people from ozer nationalities forgiffingly. And not be ovended to easilie.

Zank joe zo mutsch.
🤣 🙏
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
when there is a considerable amount of very sloppy spelling in a post, it slows me down in my reading and understanding of what is written and that is slightly annoying.

What slows me down is lack of punctuation, and lack of paragraphs. It rarely happens on this forum though.

We even have a moderator suggesting that non-native English speakers go elsewhere

I certainly didn't read the suggestion that way!
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
I get along well enough in Castilian Spanish, I can function in french but I’m a native English speaker.

This forum is almost entirely in English yet I’m constantly amazed at the fluency, grammar and vocabulary of many who post here for whom English is a second (or third, or more) language.

I have occasionally argued a counterpoint to another poster, only to find later that my interpretation of what they posted was not precisely what was intended and, through ignorance, I have not made any allowance for them only being 99% fluent in English.

How about a nationality or language marker among side a posters chosen name? It might promote better understanding.

Or is this a solution in search of a problem ...

I think it might be. A nationality marker for Canadians wouldn't help much, as only 57% have English as a first language. Among members of the Ottawa camino group, mother tongues include French (naturally), Tagalog, Portuguese, Croatian, German, three varieties of Chinese, and (Mexican and Castilian) Spanish.

The only problems of misunderstanding or miscommunication I've noted over the years on this Forum have been from speakers of English from England who assume that some of their slang is universally understood (e.g., I had to look up kip, although my guess at bivvy turned out to be correct). This Forum is generally innocent of participants looking for things to argue about, so as long as we continue to listen to our moderators, we should be all right.
 

William Marques

Moderator
Staff member
This is a site created and maintained by a Norwegian living in Spain, frequented by people from all over the world - and now some native English-speaking people are "claiming" ownership? We even have a moderator suggesting that non-native English speakers go elsewhere .. er, that would strictly include US Americans, wouldn't it? :p
This was posted back in 2009 and is still there on our Announcements page:

This is basically an English language forum but speakers of other languages are welcome to post in their own language.

However it will be polite, helpful to the majority of readers and also probably mean that you get an answer to a question more quickly if you post an English translation below your message.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
I walked Le Puy to Santiago with a young man who I met on a camino before and he and his mom and I got very close. I was almost like the dad that Max never knew. I love that kid although he cost me a fortune in food!!!! I can't tell you how many times we would be communicating on Whatsapp because he was always ahead of me. He would give me directions or tell me a location where we should meet and I would have NO IDEA whatsoever what he was talking about as he speaks Australian English and Australian slang and I speak the American version. I would answer him back with the usual "Max, what the $#ck are you talking about SPEAK ENGLISH. It is amazing how even within a language there is another language. I have always been amazed by the fluency of others in English and ashamed of my non fluency.
 

Michael; Camino-addicted

Take your time to enjoy a beautiful moment
Camino(s) past & future
A few Caminos
Next plan - Camino de Baztan
From the first post I felt very welcome in this forum and never had the impression that my posts were "ridiculed", only because they were not in perfect English.

As I have already written above, I learn a lot in this forum. Most of the posts I understand without translation - if not, I get fantastic help on the internet. And if that doesn't help either, I just ask what is meant.

Some time ago there was a question if there are only coed showers in each albergue. coed????

So I asked and got a friendly answer. Super. I would have used "mixed", but so I learned a new word.

Like in every language, there are some English words that sound the same, but have a completely different meaning. My favorite problem: hole - whole

In speaking everything is clear, but if I want to write it, I must use a translator in any case. I can't remember it :mad: and I'm afraid I won't learn it.
 

Theatregal

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
So far...
2012 ~ 2019
In this online world of communication with people we don't know, beyond language or grammar or spelling, the inability to see expression on someone's face or through body language is the most difficult thing for me. It's tricky for me sometimes to understand humour in something that is posted or to try to communicate humour in something I've posted. There have been times I think, that I've taken a post too seriously or have written one that is more earnest or serious than I've intended. :) I'm really enjoying this thread.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I get along well enough in Castilian Spanish, I can function in french but I’m a native English speaker.

This forum is almost entirely in English yet I’m constantly amazed at the fluency, grammar and vocabulary of many who post here for whom English is a second (or third, or more) language.

I have occasionally argued a counterpoint to another poster, only to find later that my interpretation of what they posted was not precisely what was intended and, through ignorance, I have not made any allowance for them only being 99% fluent in English.

How about a nationality or language marker among side a posters chosen name? It might promote better understanding.

Or is this a solution in search of a problem ...
The average vocabulary of a someone who speaks English as their first language is 20,000- 30,000 words out of a total of about 170,000 words in current use (over a million in total, if we count the obsolete words). None of us even approach 99% of the total language, even the most fluent of us. We could all use some of that allowance.
 

SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
I have always felt very welcome here on this forum as a non native English speaker.

Here in Belgium foreign tv-shows are not dubbed ( like for instance in France or Spain ) but subtitled. For me this made it easier when learning a new language .

There are many disadvantages about living in this country but I can't complain about our level of language education.
We have three official languages : Dutch, French and German.
Fourth language in school is English.
Then I followed four years of Spanish in adult evening class.


And to quote Winnie the Pooh : "It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like 'what about lunch?" .
 
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henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
The average vocabulary of a someone who speaks English as their first language is 20,000- 30,000 words out of a total of about 170,000 words in current use (over a million in total, if we count the obsolete words). None of us even approach 99% of the total language, even the most fluent of us. We could all use some of that allowance.


Mine was an illustrative, directional comment by way of discussion not one put forward for audit.

I believe that the number of words required to read the majority of a quality daily newspaper is in the low ‘000s - but I’m not citing a reference, so feel free to pick that point apart as well.

I’m not sure that any reasonable definition of fluency would be based on the proportion of all feasible words which an individual understood.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Mine was an illustrative, directional comment by way of discussion not one put forward for audit.

I believe that the number of words required to read the majority of a quality daily newspaper is in the low ‘000s - but I’m not citing a reference, so feel free to pick that point apart as well.

I’m not sure that any reasonable definition of fluency would be based on the proportion of all feasible words which an individual understood.
Fair point, and something I considered, which is why I didn't put a percentage on the fluency, just on our total command of the language, a fine distinction I am quite ready to admit. I was just saying that even the most fluent of us don't have anything close to a perfect vocabulary and so should hopefully be accorded that spirit of generosity that we are extending to those for whom it is a second language.

If it came across as a criticism, I apologize.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
Fair point, and something I considered, which is why I didn't put a percentage on the fluency, just on our total command of the language, a fine distinction I am quite ready to admit. I was just saying that even the most fluent of us don't have anything close to a perfect vocabulary and so should hopefully be accorded that spirit of generosity that we are extending to those for whom it is a second language.

If it came across as a criticism, I apologize.
Good point. Thanks.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
Wasn’t it Oscar Wilde who said »Two nations divided by one language » or something similar
Usually attributed to an Irishman (George Bernard Shaw) but there's no proof he actually said it.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
I have always felt very welcome here on this forum as a non native English speaker.

Here in Belgium foreign tv-shows are not dubbed ( like for instance in France or Spain ) but subtitled. For me this made it easier when learning a new language .

There are many disadvantages about living in this country but I can't complain about our level of language education.
We have three official languages : Dutch, French and German.
Fourth language in school is English.
Then I followed four years of Spanish in adult evening class.


And to quote Winnie the Pooh : "It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like 'what about lunch?" .
Many years ago I took my daughters to Ostend for a day trip (and the mussels!) and on the way home we stopped off at Koksijde-Bad where they started playing with a young girl - they were all about 7 - 9 years old.
I asked her what part of England she came from as she spoke with a definite southern English accent.
"Oh," she said, "I'm not English. I'm Belgian!"
"But you've lived in England?"
"No, I've never been but I'd like to go one day."
"So where did you learn to speak English?"
"We watch BBC television . . . "
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
I'm Dutch. So English isn't my native langwage.

I think it's very niece of the OP to take zis in too conzideration. And look at threats ritten bye people from ozer nationalities forgiffingly. And not be ovended to easilie.

Zank joe zo mutsch.
Are you sure English isn't your native language over there? I've never met anybody from the Netherlands who didn't speak it better than I can!
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
This thread has appeared very timely for me, as I have just been struggling to express myself precisely on a previous post. A native English speaker, I have been struggling with a linguistic defect called nominal aphasia for the last twenty years. During that time, I successfully completed a doctoral dissertation and learned to speak Spanish. But I still could not find the apt word to complete my latest post. The longest that it has taken me to find such a word is two days. So I am thinking that all verbal communication is likely to be partial and faulty between humans for many reasons. We go on trying, using the best words that we can find, but relying on patience and good will to help us understand one another.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
I get along well enough in Castilian Spanish, I can function in french but I’m a native English speaker.

This forum is almost entirely in English yet I’m constantly amazed at the fluency, grammar and vocabulary of many who post here for whom English is a second (or third, or more) language.

I have occasionally argued a counterpoint to another poster, only to find later that my interpretation of what they posted was not precisely what was intended and, through ignorance, I have not made any allowance for them only being 99% fluent in English.

How about a nationality or language marker among side a posters chosen name? It might promote better understanding.

Or is this a solution in search of a problem ...

I'll attempt a serious response, but I'll start by saying that I think it's a non-solution in search of a non-problem.

Spanish and French are both Romance languages and they both place more importance on prescriptive rather than descriptive grammar ; so that there are genuinely correct ways to speak those languages versus the incorrect ones.

Variations exist certainly in dialect, a lot more so in Spanish than French, but these are recognised and accepted divergences from the basic norm rather than constituting correct speech in themselves. (though Catalan for example is not a dialect, but a different language)

English OTOH is a language entirely made up of dialects, so that the "norm" is a concatenation of those dialects rather than the other way 'round. This goes beyond just the regional or social class differences in pronunciation, diction, and speech that are common in England -- but for instance Scots English, Texan English, and Kentish English (where it still persists) are three separate dialects, belonging to English, but each having its own internal rules that are not deviations from a standard, but they exist independently in and of themselves.

Therefore, whereas in French and Spanish it is far more the responsibility of the writer or speaker, for clarity of intent, to conform to the grammatical and vocabulary norms, in English it is far more the responsibility of the listener or reader to make sense of what is being intended, since English lacks any universally normative standards of expression.

So that when discussions occur in English between people with divergent practices of it, including non-native speakers, it is the job of all participants to work towards understanding what's being said, rather than a set of abstract normative requirements dictating what is "correct".

English is created dynamically between its various speakers with their variant usages of it rather than any norms existing that all are expected to gravitate towards. (both tendencies exist in all languages, but the former is more prevalent in English, the latter more prevalent in the Romance ones)
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
There are some research that suggests that fast readers don’t actually read words but rather employ a variety of ‘decoding strategies’ based on pattern recognition.

Educational practices based on this theory have been quite disastrous, and have led to a substantial increase in full or functional illiteracy where they have been attempted -- so sorry, but I'm unconvinced.

And when I needed to fast read myself, at University (especially of papers or articles outlining mostly unoriginal things), I'd personally basically just ignore the patterns as abstractions, and instead focus on the words that stood out on the page or in certain paragraphs, and then focus my attention in those places. I'd still quick read everything, but I'd keep my attention to it at the same sort of superficial level that one has when one is alone in a chattering crowd, where you sort of listen without listening to the chatter, but you can suddenly hone in on what a particular individual is saying if he or she uses certain particular words that catch your interest.

I use similar techniques when skimming down an internet forum where it would often be impractical to pay full attention to every minute detail of all that everyone has contributed.
 

Hurry Krishna

Indian on the Way
Camino(s) past & future
2009 (from Sarria), 2014 from St Jean Pied de Port, 2016 from Porto, 2018 from Le Puy to Santiago.
I get along well enough in Castilian Spanish, I can function in french but I’m a native English speaker.

This forum is almost entirely in English yet I’m constantly amazed at the fluency, grammar and vocabulary of many who post here for whom English is a second (or third, or more) language.

I have occasionally argued a counterpoint to another poster, only to find later that my interpretation of what they posted was not precisely what was intended and, through ignorance, I have not made any allowance for them only being 99% fluent in English.

How about a nationality or language marker among side a posters chosen name? It might promote better understanding.

Or is this a solution in search of a problem ...
I get by with a little help from my friends in a number of languages! English is the fourth language I learnt - but probably my best language - being the only language in which I have published academic books and papers. English is not a simple languages and like all other languages was given to man and woman too, to hide their thoughts. I don’t think you knowing which is my first language is going to help you unpick my mis-constructtions in English - unless your grasp of Bengali (the first language I learnt and my mother’s tongue) and my other languages were so good that you would pick exactly what I was thinking in another language while I was writing in English.
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
Educational practices based on this theory have been quite disastrous, and have led to a substantial increase in full or functional illiteracy where they have been attempted -- so sorry, but I'm unconvinced.

As far as I am informed, this not an educational practice but a ’method’ which apparently is intuitively adopted by experienced/frequent readers that has been deduced from observations/experiments.
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
Are you sure English isn't your native language over there? I've never met anybody from the Netherlands who didn't speak it better than I can!
Ha ha. I don’t know about that. One thing‘s for zure ‘though: apparently we share the same kind of humour.

It would be nice to meet you someday. It could be fun exchanging accents....
 
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
As far as I am informed, this not an educational practice but a ’method’ which apparently is intuitively adopted by experienced/frequent readers that has been deduced from observations/experiments.
I agree. We did not talk about speed reading. Like others, I did a course at uni, tried to apply the technique a few times and abandoned it. We talked about fast reading, i.e. the fact that, for many people, these factors can irritate them and slow down their usual speed of reading: frequent and careless spelling mistakes, irregular use of lower and upper case, lack of punctuation, and lack of paragraphs.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
As far as I am informed, this not an educational practice but a ’method’ which apparently is intuitively adopted by experienced/frequent readers that has been deduced from observations/experiments.

I have given an account of my own personal experience with speed reading, focused on salient features not on "pattern recognition", but I'm afraid that educational practices have indeed been based on those theories.


I'm not trying to suggest that pattern recognition does not or should not form part of the various reading strategies that can be adopted, even taught, though I seem to vaguely remember that it is a characteristic pertinent more to those with the so-called "female brain" type rather than those with the so-called "male brain" (these terms are likely inaccurate IMO, even though they are statistically pertinent ; IIRC 85% girls and women have the so-called "female brain" inside their heads ; 65% boys and men the so-called "male brain" (this works out to about 61% of the population having the so-called "female brain") ; they really should just be called something neutral like type A and type B ; they have BTW exactly nothing to do with gender identity etc, but rather they generally determine the two commonest types of rationality in human beings -- sometimes referred to as the Apollonian/Dionysian dichotomy, other times cognitive/intuitive, left brain/right brain, and etc)

And it would seem that pattern recognition is a perception tactic on the Dionysian - intuitive side of things, associated with the so-called "female brain" type.

But here's the thing -- reading is far more of an Apollonian - cognitive type of activity (each brain "type" engages BTW routinely in activities that the other "type" is more specialised in), and IMO the failure to realise this has led some educators to try and teach people according to a "holistic" method that is well adapted to only some pupils, whereas the more traditional method is something that nearly all pupils will be either well suited for or are in the habit of quite normally adapting to. Yes, there are some dyslexics who really do need the "holistic"/pattern recognition method ; bearing in mind that dyslexia is a range of multiple loosely related learning difficulties, not a single nor simple condition -- but more typically, pattern recognition learning is more easily achievable by individual pupils within the traditional teaching method than "hard" cognitive learning is within the "holistic" one.

My I am ranting, aren't I !!! 😵


I agree. We did not talk about speed reading. Like others, I did a course at uni, tried to apply the technique a few times and abandoned it. We talked about fast reading, i.e. the fact that, for many people, these factors can irritate them and slow down their usual speed of reading: frequent and careless spelling mistakes, irregular use of lower and upper case, lack of punctuation, and lack of paragraphs.

Kathar1na, for one reason or another, it's not something that everyone can work out how to do, but don't ask me why that is so -- I haven't the slight foggiest !!

When I was at Univ, that some students "got" how to do proper literary analysis whilst others couldn't even get started with it seemed to be distributed completely at random ; neither intellectual ability nor quality of prior education seemed to be a determining factor.

It's quite possible that this ability is just as randomly provided ...
 
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Aurigny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés; Português Central; Português Interior; Primitivo; Português da Costa; Invierno; Gebennensis
(Catch the deliberate typo?)

I assumed that it was this, but I might be wrong:-

a bank ckerk asked...


In the general vein of the current discussion, I imagine that a lot of people have come across this observation:-
Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
 
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy
Nice example. ☺
I didn't spot that, and neither did @VNwalking. ☺

When I had to do important proofreading of a text that I had written myself, I often started from the end: covered everything except the last sentence, proofread it, then the previous sentence and so on until I reached the first sentence.
 
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CWBuff

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
in Planning stage: Frances (SJPdP --> SdC) & Finisterre "2021" ... (GOD WILLING!)
So... for no other reason but to demonstrate (ahem) 'the power of translation' - there is a thread on the Forum titled Fisterra and mystique of Death.
I got my Google translator on Auto from Spanish to English
so... this is a part of an article that I got in said translation:

Nor can a simple explanation be established because, in part, the proliferation of cases could respond, as the mayor says, José Marcote, every time an episode of this type occurs, to the enormous volume of visits that the town receives increasingly of Christ for almost two decades.

I'M S😳 :eek::rolleyes: CONFUSED!!!!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
So... for no other reason but to demonstrate (ahem) 'the power of translation' - there is a thread on the Forum titled Fisterra and mystique of Death.
That's as good a reason for posting as any :cool:. Without expanding on how much I loathe the posting of raw unedited machine translations and how much I admire the performance of machine translation today, here's one bit of context that the machine does not know (yet). DeepL.com gives you for localidad del Cristo = place of the Christ/Christ's place/location of Christ and that means Fisterra.

Contemporary camino walkers associate Fisterra mainly with the setting of the sun etc etc but medieval pilgrims as well as many other people today, including the writer of the article, associate it with a statue of the Crucified Christ in the local church which, I understand, is one of the most famous of its kind in Spain, together with those in Burgos and Ourense.

But we are now far away from the thread topic and translation has little to do with writing in a foreign language. I don't translate when I write.

BTW, DeepL.com usually does a better job than Google Translate.
 
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Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
So... for no other reason but to demonstrate (ahem) 'the power of translation' - there is a thread on the Forum titled Fisterra and mystique of Death.
I found it made more sense if I manually selected Galician rather than Spanish in the Google Chrome translate options.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
I assumed that it was this, but I might be wrong:-




In the general vein of the current discussion, I imagine that a lot of people have come across this observation:-
Actually, when I checked what I had posted, I noticed that one, along with a second small i, but left it. Your example is one I had seen, and it does work. An enjoyable meander, thanks to all contributors.
 

CWBuff

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
in Planning stage: Frances (SJPdP --> SdC) & Finisterre "2021" ... (GOD WILLING!)
Thank you @Kathar1na
At least I understand now
I reckon I will have to stop at the said church when I will finish my big hike
 

McGraneC

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2016) SdC to Finisterre
(2017) Porto to SdC
I walked Le Puy to Santiago with a young man who I met on a camino before and he and his mom and I got very close. I was almost like the dad that Max never knew. I love that kid although he cost me a fortune in food!!!! I can't tell you how many times we would be communicating on Whatsapp because he was always ahead of me. He would give me directions or tell me a location where we should meet and I would have NO IDEA whatsoever what he was talking about as he speaks Australian English and Australian slang and I speak the American version. I would answer him back with the usual "Max, what the $#ck are you talking about SPEAK ENGLISH. It is amazing how even within a language there is another language. I have always been amazed by the fluency of others in English and ashamed of my non fluency.


You want to try visiting Ireland. Even our translators need translators to understand English from different parts of this small island.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Are you sure English isn't your native language over there? I've never met anybody from the Netherlands who didn't speak it better than I can!
This is my humbling experience too.
And Belgian people are no slouches either...they apologise for their nearly perfect English.
"It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like 'what about lunch?" .
Truth.😎
I didn't spot that, and neither did @VNwalking
I didn't indeed, but fell for the decoys instead.
🤣

The perfect English in the many of the replies here by people of diverse nationalities make me think
that maybe we need a 'native English speaker' badge instead, as a warning that there may be spelling or grammatical mistakes ahead.
🙃😉🤓
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
You want to try visiting Ireland. Even our translators need translators to understand English from different parts of this small island.
I have been to Ireland and I loved it and yes I learned one great trick about understanding the Irish, English language. It is something that I learned in college when I spent 8 moths studying in England. When I visited the northern reaches of Scotland I couldn't understand one word of what anyone said@ :) :) but I found that the more Newcastle Brown Ale I drank the more understandable the Scottish people were. Found that true in Ireland too! When I went my kids were little. We visited Ireland and rented a car to get around the country. One day we stopped in a small shop to get some snacks. My daughter who was 6 at the time said Daddy I am going with you because if I don't you will be in there all day. The Irish people are just like you. You all love to talk and talk and talk. It was true and I loved every second chatting with the fine people of Ireland. Some of my closest friends I have met on the Camino are from that little island to the north!
 

Carolyn G

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
May 2019
(Future - CP September 2020)
That’s correct, y’all.
Bless your heart for asking. (I’m joking -
in these parts that’s a slam !)
 

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